The Fitness Guide

Rosie Gomez's Guide to Getting Fit!

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Adopting a Dog Can Make You Healthier

It’s no secret that owning a pet is good for you. PhysiciansRunning and other scientists have for years said that there are numerous health benefits. One of the ways that humans benefit from sharing their lives with dogs is increased physical activity.

If you’ve ever wondered how the simple act of adopting a dog can help you become fit and healthier, read on to learn more about the ways that dogs help their humans get into shape.

Go for a Walk

Dogs need exercise to keep their brains active and engaged and their bodies fit and healthy. However, modern dogs are often confined to a house or small yard for much of the time, so they depend on their humans for access to exercise. Because your dog can’t walk himself, you’ll need to help him.

Long walks benefit you as much as they do your canine companion. Most dog experts recommend at least 45 minutes per day of vigorous walking. Wearing a heart rate monitor can help determine how much effort you’ve put into the exercise with your pup. The harder you walk, the better it is for you and your dog; as a result, owners often find themselves losing weight and becoming more fit in the process. Additionally, if you’re ever feeling less than motivated, a pair of sad puppy eyes gazing at you from a position near the front door should be all the encouragement you need to get out and get moving.

Exercising with dogPlay Ball

Dogs are hunters, and while many of their bloodthirsty tendencies have diminished over the process of domestication, they still share a strong prey drive with their wolf ancestors. This is one of the reasons why your dog loves to chase balls and toys when they are thrown. You can use this instinctive drive to the advantage of your dog’s health, and yours as well.

Spend 30 minutes a few times a day playing with your dog in your yard or other safe enclosure. As you throw the ball and engage your dog in an active round of chase, you’re not only getting his heart pumping, but you’ll likely find that you’ve broken a sweat in the process too.

Boot Camp

Boot camps that focus on intensive physical training have become very popular ways for people to get into shape, and many personal trainers have taken this concept one step further. In cities across the country you can now take your dog to boot camp sessions with you.

A combination of activities that challenges both human and canine, these boot camps offer exercises that will whip both of you into shape. Boot camps also have the added benefit of socialization with other dogs for your furry friend, which will help make him a great deal happier.

These are just a few ways that dog ownership can have a positive impact on your fitness. The increased activity that comes with dog ownership is a great way to be more active in many areas of your life. Visit your local animal shelter or rescue group today to find a pup that is perfect for your lifestyle. Giving a forever home to a shelter dog is a great way to change two lives for the better at the same time.


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Child’s Play: 5 Ways to Have More Active Kids

children exercisingIt’s no secret that obesity is an epidemic in the United States, but perhaps the most frightening aspect of that statement is how it applies to children and teens. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control now states that at least 1 in 3 children and teens in the U.S. is overweight or obese.

The causes of this epidemic are many, but the main culprits are a more sedentary lifestyle and diets consisting of more processed foods. There are many other contributing factors, however, and for each family struggling with obesity their issues are unique and personal. Unfortunately, the fact remains that the health and physical fitness of children in the United States is poor, and that needs to change.

If you want to make some changes in your family’s lifestyle and exercise habits, and give your kids the gift of health in the process, read on to learn more about great ways to encourage physical activity in your kids.

Get the Gadgets

If you’re going to restrict your child’s computer time in favor of exercise then you might want to sweeten the deal. Apps for smart phones can encourage your kids to keep track of their fitness level, and they can share their progress with their friends on social media.

You can also consider a video game system that comes with exercise and fitness games. These can encourage your kids to get moving and you can join the fun, too.

Take a Class

girl horseback riding

Fitness classes for kids and teens are popping up at gyms all across the country, so take advantage of these opportunities. Yoga, spinning, and parkour can all inspire your kids to get moving and have fun in the process.

Other classes and lessons that might interest your kids are horseback riding, snowboarding, or cross country skiing. Find out what your child is interested in and make it happen.

Do Chores Together

We all know that it’s almost impossible to get kids to do chores without a fair amount of complaining, but there are ways to make it more fun. Arrange a race to see who can bring all of the laundry downstairs in the least time. Practice squats with your kids when you’re unloading the dishwasher. There are a number of ways to encourage your kids to help with chores and move more in the process.

Ditch the Car

If you live in an urban or suburban area, why not ditch your car sometimes? Take your kids along for a walk to the grocery store, and burn some calories carrying your groceries home. If your child’s school is nearby and you have the time, then walk with them to school and walk to pick them up. Not only does walking together burn calories but it also gives you a chance to talk with each other with no distractions.

Explore the Science

While some younger children might not understand the science and the health risks of obesity, your tweens and teens very much can. Make an appointment with your doctor so that he or she can explain some of the serious complications that can arise from obesity.

Encourage your child to do independent research, as well. The more they know about their condition the more active they might become in changing it.

Obesity in children is a serious medical condition, but it’s one that can be changed. Work with your healthcare provider and your kids to become a healthier and happier family.

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America’s Best Cities for Urban Trail Running

trail running

Running is one of the best and most popular ways to stay fit. It’s free, it’s easy, and, assuming that you’ve been given the okay from your doctor, it’s one of the best methods of exercise available to improve your overall fitness level.

While running on a treadmill at home or in the gym is fine and will certainly help you achieve your fitness goal, it can become more than a little mundane and boring. Unfortunately, when you get bored with an exercise program it can become more difficult to feel motivated.

Luckily, there are many places around the United States where runners can enjoy the outdoors and a variety of beautiful scenery while utilizing well-maintained urban trails and the more rugged dirt paths that can accompany them. Not only do these trails serve as a way for you to ditch the gym when you want to run, but using them is great way to meet other like-minded runners in your area and embrace the health benefits that come with trail running.

Here are a few of the best places in the country to take advantage of amazing urban trails.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The runners who call Minnesota’s largest city home have a lot to be excited about. The beautiful trail called Grand Rounds is more than 50 miles long and is also recognized as a National Scenic Byway. One of the most popular parts of this trail is known as Chain of Lakes. This portion of the trail is just a little over 13 miles in length and offers runners exceptional views of the lakes. It has the advantage of abundant, natural shade. Purchase one of the many heart rate watches available to keep track of your fitness while running on this beautiful trail. Visit the Minneapolis Parks website for more information.

San Diego, California

San Diego is located on one of the most crowded areas of the California coastline, but as a very active and health-conscious city, San Diego also offers some amazing places to run. The Silver Strand trail begins in Coronado and ends at Imperial Beach. As a 15-mile round-trip journey, this trail hugs the coastline the entire way and provides some incredible views. The abundant hotels, restaurants, and shops along the way make the Silver Strand trail perfect for those times when you want to take a break, cool off, and enjoy the scenery.

trail runnerPortland, Oregon

Known around the country for its outdoorsy lifestyle and its fair share of unique and eccentric citizens, Portland is a beautiful city perched on the banks of the Columbia and Willamette Rivers.

Active residents of Portland have a number of running trails to choose from, but the best and most scenic of these is the Wildwood Trail. Located to the west of downtown Portland, the Wildwood Trail is 28 miles long and features both paved and dirt paths. Open year-round, this trail is at its most beautiful during the fall when the local trees show off their beautiful colors.

Austin, Texas

Any city with a young and vibrant population is bound to have abundantly available outdoor activities and Austin is no exception. The city is rife with beautiful parks and scenic areas that just beg to be explored. The Barton Creek Greenbelt is one of the most popular areas in Austin and is hailed as an urban oasis. With only a little more than 7 miles of trails, Barton Creek Greenbelt makes up for its lack of distance with a number of activities along the way. In addition to running the trails people can swim in the creek and test out their climbing skills on the number of rock overhangs.

Whether you live in an urban area or a small town, there are always great ways to leave the gym behind and exercise in the great outdoors. Consider trail running if you’re looking for a fun and interesting way to burn calories and get fit.

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Are You Ready? How to Prepare for a 5K

5K startWhen many people make the decision to get off the couch and become healthier, they do so with a goal in mind. Typically that goal is weight loss and increased health, but many people also begin training with a more competitive goal in their sights.

5K runs are very popular in the United States, and upwards of 8,500 of these races are held each year. Some are fun races with costumes are not just encouraged but required, some races allow the participants’ dogs to join in, and almost all of them involve a worthy charity. While any race is ultimately a competition, entering a 5K is a fantastic way to assess your own personal best and to reap the rewards of all of your hard work. 

If you’ve been thinking about focusing on a 5K as your fitness goal, check out these great tips to help you get started.

See Your Doctor

You’ve likely heard this advice from everyone once you’ve decided to begin training, but it just might be the best advice you’ll ever get. Not only can your health care provider make sure that you’re healthy enough to start a fitness program, but he or she can also give you tips on diet and specific exercise strategies that can help you succeed.

Additionally, if you sustain an injury while training it can be very beneficial to your healing if your doctor is already well aware of your exercise regimen.

Choose Your Race

Even if you’ve just begun your fitness program, do some research into upcoming 5K races in your area. Choosing a race and registering for it gives you a goal to strive for and a w

ay to hold yourself accountable. Filling out the registration forms and marking the date on your calendar gives you a tangible reminder of the reasons you’ve decided to get fit in the first place.

Additionally, consider a charity race that asks you to solicit sponsors and donations. When your friends, family, and coworkers have donated money and are cheering you on, you’ll be more likely to fulfill your commitment.

Train Hard and Train Smart

Arguably the hardest part of training for a 5K is, well, the training. You’ll need to be focused on and dedicated to your goal to make it all happen. There are many online resources that outline training schedules that are specifically tailored to the first-time competitor, so browse several of them and choose the one that works for your schedule and your fitness level.

Purchase the gear you’ll need as soon as possible. While proper running shoes are the most important part of this equation, make sure that you buy adequate exercise clothing that fits well and provides support where you need it. The sight of your new running gear in the closet can serve as a powerful motivator.

Get a Training Partner

5K finish

Lastly, consider recruiting a friend. Training with a partner has proven to help beginners train more often and for longer durations than training alone. The constant motivation that you give to each other can go a long way when you’re both focusing on the same goal. Also, when you’re feeling tired and you lose your focus, having a partner can remind you why you began this fitness journey in the first place.

A fitness goal is one of the best things that you can give yourself when you begin a workout program. If that goal happens to be a 5K race then there are many ways to achieve it. Get a health assessment, choose a race, and implement a training program. Before you know it you’ll be crossing the first of what will hopefully be many finish lines.

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How Heart Rate Monitoring Can Improve Your Training

In recent years health and personal fitness has gone from buzzword of the day to a high tech industry serving people from all walks of life. Everyone from professional athletes to die hard runners typically use one or more devices to aid them in their training and to help optimize their workouts.

One of the devices that you’ll see used by many is the heart rate monitor. These devices aren’t used for medical purposes; they’re used by those who want to track their heart rate and thus improve their training.

The human heart is a muscle and, as such, it grows stronger with exercise. Monitoring the heart’s function before, during, and after training can help athletes of all disciplines better understand their heart’s fitness level and adjust the training schedule accordingly.

Runningrunner with heart rate monitor

Runners can benefit from heart rate monitoring in several ways. Gauging the level of the heart rate in combination with the intensity of the exercise allows runners to adjust their schedules accordingly. As the runner’s heart rate decreases as the muscle grows stronger, the runner is then able to increase the intensity of the workout without reaching the threshold and risking injury.

Heart rate watches are a good addition to any runner’s arsenal. Not only does the watch monitor the heart rate, but they also include stopwatch and other features that are indispensable to the serious runner.


Cycling is one of the best exercises for overall fitness and remains one of the most popular forms of exercise as well. Heart rate monitoring is crucial to the avid cyclist in many of the same ways that it is to the runner, with a few added exceptions.

A cyclist’s heart rate can change frequently during a workout, especially on hilly terrain. It’s important that a cyclist uses the monitor to establish an average resting heart rate before he or she begins training with one. Once the averages are fixed, the monitor lets the cyclist know when the heart rate reaches optimum performance. When that figure is combined with distance, speed, and elevation information the training schedule can be customized around the information.


As with the other exercise disciplines mentioned, swimming is all about endurance and reaching peak performance. Swimmers also benefit from the use of a heart rate monitor in much the same way that runners and cyclists do.

Obviously a waterproof monitor is in order here, but those are widely available. Once donned, the monitor transmits the information to the watch or other device and records data. This can be very helpful in the training of swimmers by relaying information such as distance traveled and the time it took to do that, which is something that swimmers can’t check as easily as cyclists.

Heart rate monitoring is also useful for SCUBA divers. A diver can use a monitor to gauge when their  heart rate is higher, which means that the diver is consuming air more quickly and will have less bottom time. If a diver can monitor his or her heart rate over time he or she can actively work to reduce it, which means less air used over the course of the dive.

Every athlete strives to improve their performance across the board. Heart rate monitoring is a proven way for athletes to track their efforts and design training sessions around their peak performances. When workouts are approached this way, everyone is a winner.